Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Sketchbook Pages

I have been very behind with my design blog postings, but rest assured I am still working on a lot of projects and will be posting updates soon! In the meantime, I have had some requests to place some more images of my sketchbook. When I was in Washington visiting Chandler O'Leary, I did a sketch every day and it was wonderful. The two of us sat in various locations and did drawings while we made each other laugh with mindless talking. The weather was perfect for sitting outside and catching some inspiration.

The locations are located in the lower right hand side of each sketch.

I always feel that my desire to become a designer stemmed from my love of drawing. I am amazed at all of my artistic friends and their wide range of styles when sketching. Each person brings their own background and technique to the medium. Almost universally though, they carry a sketchbook and use it all the time. I have a couple that I use for different purposes. One is for my work notes and layout thoughts for freelance work. The other one is strictly for my own design endeavors and internal concepts. The one shown here is just for pencil sketches of various places I am traveling to or visit during my day.

Even though our field has been changed and adapted by technology, drawing is still such a vital skill for staying fresh creatively and also learning to express your ideas in a quick, visual format. The ideas in design and art cannot be replaced by the computer, which is an extension tool after the concepts have been explored.

My strong feelings about staying fresh through other mediums, like sketching, most likely come from my father who is an architect in the city and still draws all of his renderings and plans by hand, with minimal tools (besides pens, a straight edge, markers and colored pencils). He was always told in college that architects need to know how to draw. Through his example, I was exposed to some great techniques and I think some of my own drawing style is influenced by him. Here are some examples of his work.

I also was influenced again when I went to the Rhode Island School of Design and my graphic design teachers pushed learning by hand before relying on the computer. Having a strong eye and exceptional technique came before execution of the final product. Strong concepts and messaging were the foundation of good design, not necessarily personal visual aesthetics.

While my sketches are not always design related, I always keep these lessons in mind. It can be extremely refreshing to return to simple expressions of visual understanding.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Trip to Washington

Last Thursday, I flew out of Minneapolis to visit my best friend, Chandler O'Leary, in Tacoma, Washington. She is a fabulous book artist running her own business, Anagram Press, and we try and get together for several days at least once a year. This summer, we traveled all over Washington (thanks to Chandler's driving) and took hundreds of photographs and did dozens of drawings together.

One of the first stops was to look at the beautiful blooming flowers in Tacoma's Point Defiance State Park.

This included hydrangeas and other flowers that are already completely out of season in Minneapolis. I used my zoom lens, manual focus and careful exposure to capture all the textures and highly saturated colors in each flower.

We also took the ferry over to Vashon Island and did some sketching and watched some little kids playing and throwing rocks on the beach. It was a beautiful day and it was so lovely to feel the breeze coming from the water.

We also could not let my visit go by without eating some Pacific Ocean seafood, and in true, typical goofiness, dressing him up and photographing it.

Come on, the googly eyes were hard to pass up!

We also made a stop in Olympia, Washington for the day and had a great time searching down fruit at the farmer's market, listening to some bluegrass music, eating some fantastic pizza at a great, hole in the wall place with amazing poster collages and checking out the architecture at the state capitol.

I love Prince and could not pass up the chance to immortalize him in the photograph. When I saw it, my heart skipped a beat!

The next day, we headed out nice and early and drove to Yakima in Central Washington. Along the way, we passed through the beautiful mountain ranges and stopped to take some photographs. The fog was beautiful that morning hanging in the trees and in the cool air, the colors were extraordinary.

I also found this fantastic abandoned sign in the park and had to stop to capture the typography and weathered surface.

In Yakima and the outlying farms, we drove through the orchards. There were some great, stacked apple crates and old farm equipment.

It was an amazing trip that day, including but not photographed, the dozen or so fruit stands we stopped at to buy peaches and apricots, but at their peak cheapness and ripeness since canning was coming in the following days. I also missed photographing the 6am blueberry picking one morning. It was an interesting and fun experience!

On my last day in Washington, Chandler and I checked out the zoo in Tacoma. It was a small zoo but with some great animals. The tiger and puffins especially lent themselves to being captured with my camera.

I had such a great time and it is always so amazing to catch up and sketch and photograph with Chandler. It rejuvenates my creative side that is not consumed with costs and client demands. It is purely to enjoy mindless conversation while you share your love of art with someone who shares your passion. It will be a while before I am able to visit again so I was so grateful for this trip!